Charles Booth Life & Labour of the People in London
Third Series: Religious Influences, vol 2 - London north of the Thames - the Inner Ring:
chapter 1, Whitechapel & St George's-in-the-East (Macmillan 1902)

This work, based on observations taken a number of years earlier, can be read in full here. The main themes of this chapter are:

I have now reached the point at which my study of London began fifteen years ago, and in this final review am able to note the changes that have taken place under my own observation, as well as those of earlier date recorded by some who have devoted themselves to religious, philanthropic or educational work in this district for twenty, thirty, forty or even, in one or two instances, for fifty years. [Map of parishes left; census statistics right]

The whole district has been affected by the increase of the Jewish population. It has been like the slow rising of a flood. Street after street is occupied. Family follows family. No Gentile could live in the same house with these poor foreign Jews, and even as neighbours they are unpleasant; and, since people of this race, though sometimes quarrelsome amongst themselves, are extremely gregarious and sociable, each small street or group of houses invaded tends to become entirely Jewish. Houses are bought or rented, however dilapidated they may be, or with however short a lease to run. The previous tenants are ejected, nominally for repairs, and their place is taken by the new owners or their new tenants, the houses being let and sublet and packed full of poor Jews. The crowding that results is very great, and the dirt reported as indescribable. House and land values rise, however. Rents are punctually paid by the tenants in chief, and are without doubt no less punctually collected from their sub-tenants.

Jewish influence is everywhere discernible. Chapels are superseded by synagogues, parish churches are left stranded; Jewish children are being largely enrolled even in the Church schools [see here for Isaac Rosenberg, a pupil at St Paul Whitechapel], and an increasing number of the Board schools are being obliged to adopt Jewish holidays. The Jews have their local representatives in Parliament and on the Borough Council; the self-managed working men's clubs are in their hands; at one time they nearly monopolised the People's Palace; and in Spitalfields they have taken possession of a benevolent society, a special object of which, earlier in the century, was to give help to the descendants of Protestant Huguenots! [The Spitalfields Benevolent Society for Visiting and Relieving the Sick and Distressed Poor at their own Habitations, founded 1824]

In addition to the coming of the Jews there have been changes due to structural and industrial causes. Partly for business and partly for sanitary reasons, great clearances have been made, and those who formerly occupied the demolished houses have moved out North or East. We have found traces of them in many of the poor patches of the Outer ring. The proximity of the City has led to the absorption of large portions of the district for warehouses, and as regards water-side employment, the docks and the ships, the men and their work have to a great extent moved further down the river; and such employment as remains has become more regular in character. Nor are these readjustments yet completed. Business premises continue to extend, the Jewish population to increase, and the field for casual dock labour to be more and more restricted. All this we see in operation; and all these changes, while entirely due to other causes, have greatly affected the religious and philanthropic work of which this district is the field, so that the development of each organization is to some extent a record of the changes themselves. It is more difficult to measure the effects produced on the panorama of East-End life by religion and philanthropy than it is to trace on these the influence of changred and changing conditions.

But although the spread of the Jews has been rapid, it would be far from the whole truth merely to say that they have ousted the original inhabitants, for as we see many of these were disturbed by other causes. Nor when the Jews have ousted others does the community necessarily suffer; on the contrary, it is sometimes recognised that they have acted as 'moral scavengers'; for it is undoubtedly true that the Jews 'improve the character of the worst streets when they get in'. They have already taken one end of Great Pearl Street and 'it is probably the Jews alone who will turn out the prostitutes from the end that is still bad'.
eies, or Vol. I. of the original edition]. It is a family religion, a matter of birth and heritage, even more than of belief. Its activities are evidenced in the numerous synagogues, which in this district make of Saturday a second Sunday, by the great Jewish Free School, and by the careful organization of their charities. It is not too much to say that no one born a Jew is untouched by the influence of his religion. The poor, ignorant, half-civilized foreign Jew forms no part of 'heathen' London, and indeed he observes the ritual and respects the traditions of his faith more scrupulously than do his English born and better educated brethren.

With regard to the present relations between our religion and theirs, it must be admitted that all attempts at conversion to Christianity are a failure. Immense sums are spent with practically no result. The money subscribed is and must be entrusted to the discretion of the missioner, for the Jewish convert, ostracised by his own people and not very warmly welcomed by ours, necessarily requires financial assistance. It is not quite fair to brand this as bribery. The money or assistance received may not be the attraction. There may probably be some genuine conversions. It would indeed be strange if there were not; strange, if among the Jews alone there were none found who, overpowered by the sense of sin, find a haven in the Pauline Christian theory of salvation; none among the race which gave it birth, whose souls respond to the spiritual experiences on which that theory rests.

In the effort to win the Jews, one of their own race who has become convinced of the doctrine of Salvation through Christ is the best agent. He can base his appeal on their own scriptures and seek to show that the Messiah the Jews still look for has indeed come. As a result of such ministrations a congregation of baptized Jews has been formed here. It is said to be the only one in Europe, and its success is a measure of the general failure. [See here for details of Jewish convert clergy in the area.]

We are told that the poor foreign Jews, ignorant as they are of religious history, are surprised to find that our Bible contains their scriptures and to learn that their God is ours also. But they are well read in their own sacred books; exclusive and narrow in the application of the teaching found therein; and scrupulous in their obedience to the letter of the law. Defrauded of their great inheritance, sad loyalists of religion, they still feel themselves to be members of the chosen aristocracy of God.

The attitude of the clergy on this question varies. Some frankly abandon all idea of conversion or interference. Let a Jew, they say, remain under the influence of his own religion, and try to be a good Jew. Others fling themselves upon this task, feeling perhaps that their whole religious position is involved in the triumph of the Gospel and in the gathering in of the lost sheep of the House of Israel. To this end money is freely subscribed. Others, again (including, perhaps, most of the East-End clergy), are half-hearted. While not willing to lower their flag, they recognise that no good comes of any of the attempts made. They see that the missions for the conversion of the Jews are apt to breed a contemptible and hypocritical spirit, and that at best, with very few exceptions, they succeed in obtaining as genuine converts only very poor specimens of humanity. They will heartily pray for the conversion of the Jews, but prefer to leave the accomplishment in God's hands.

Moreover, the stronger their own belief, and the firmer their conviction of the universal application of the doctrine they preach and of its paramount claim as the only way of salvation, the more clearly must they realize the need of overcoming the absolute indifference to this truth of the great mass of a nominally Christian population before they can rely on it with any comfort in approaching the Jews. Elsewhere it may be different, but here in London the unconverted and unconvinced condition of our own people cannot be denied or ignored, and a Christian who attempts to evangelize the Jews finds his own position seriously undermined.

The richer Jews are expected to look after their own poor, and to a great extent they do so, cases demanding relief being usually referred to the great organized charity which goes by the name of the Jewish Board of Guardians. But poor Jews are ready to take advantage of any available source of relief, and in sickness are finding their way in increasing numbers to the Whitechapel Infirmary, to which, of course, they contribute as ratepayers, and to the London Hospital, to which wealthy Jews doubtless subscribe.

The assistance of their own Board of Guardians often take the form of loans granted free of interest. Complaint is made that such loans are unfair to other traders; but that money can be thus lent without much loss shows that this form of charity does not seriously demoralize; and it would be well if no worse charge could be made against the economic effect of much Christian benevolence.

The Jews are not one body. They are divided by ritual; by their stricter or their laxer interpretation of the Law; and by nationality. Besides those who have become English, there are Dutch, German, Polish and Russian Jews. Among all these the environment of English custom and administration makes itself felt; most strongly among the more scattered Germans, most weakly here in the heart of the Ghetto, but slowly and gradually even among the most exclusive and backward. They all seem to prosper and, as they gradually become Anglicised, the standard of life among them rises, especially if or perhaps as the proportion of new comers becomes smaller. It is a disputed point w'hether the concentration or dispersion of this population is best for us or for them. Among the leaders of the Jews there are on this question two parties : the one side feeling strongly that where the Jews are collected in one district the Sabbath is more likely to be kept, and that in general there is more scope for the religious and other organizations which tend to preserve the integrity of the race, while the other welcomes the wider influences of English life which are weakened by concentration. That the policy of dispersion is best from the point of view of the English nation I cannot doubt. We need not fear to admit the Jews, so long as they do not come too fast or concentrate too solidly for assimilation. Except temporarily they do not increase the pressure of poverty, however poor they may be when they come, nor do they permanently lower the standard of life, however limited their first demands may be. But at the same time it cannot be denied that they seriously aggravate the difficulties of administration, especially as regards the evils of overcrowding.

The last twenty-five or thirty years have seen the rise of a number of great organizations aimed at the amelioration of the conditions of life in East London, and the moral and spiritual advancement of its people. So largely have these efforts been concentrated upon this particular district of London, that elsewhere it is often regarded as receiving: more than its share. 'We are just as poor' (we hear it said rather bitterly), 'but our poverty excites no such interest. We are not the "East End"'.

The story is indeed a record of the extraordinary amount of assistance that may be obtained from outside sources for religious and philanthropic work due to a great arousing of the public conscience as regards the welfare of the poor, and also of the close association in the public mind of physical and spiritual destitution, poverty, ignorance and depravity, with the 'East End'.

The East End has certainly no monopoly of need, and this fact is becoming more and more recognised; but there has been no withdrawal of public support. Many are ready to give work, and money continues to be found in large amounts for very various objects. Whatever disappointment there may have been in the anticipated results it has not been enough to dash the ardent hopefulness by which these efforts have been sustained.

In describing these various efforts and in estimating the part played by them and by other social influences, for good or evil, it will be necessary to break up the area into its component parts — Spitalfields, Whitechapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and the river side — and to treat each one of them separately.



The parishes of St. Mary, St. Jude, and St. Mark, Whitechapel, and of St. Augustine, Stepney, share with those of Spitalfields the common lodging-houses and the Jews. In the first three the work of the Church is much the same as in Spitalfields, and again we find it supplemented, and even outdone, by that of a great undenominational mission. But St. Augustine's, where the High Church has stepped in, and which we shall refer to last, is run on quite other lines.

St. Mary's, the parish church of Whitechapel, is an active centre of evangelization, and in spite of the moving away of the church-going class, maintains fair congregations. Many, of the workers especially, come from further East; being those who formerly lived here, and still take an interest in the parish. The poor are found very difficult to reach, having, it is asserted, been spoilt in the past, so that the time came when no visitor would be received who did not bring something. Different agencies overlap, but this, the rector thinks, is not so much the fault of the visitors, as due to the painstaking efforts of the poor who, in order to benefit as much as possible, 'trot from meeting to meeting'. So far as may be, the benefit of the social agencies, which include a large and highly successful loan club, is here confined to those who are definitely connected with the church. There are more Jews than Christians in the parish, but the total population is great, and the church can claim a larger circle than the parish.

At St. Mark's, with a larger proportion of Jews out of a smaller total, there is, as at St. Olave's [Mile End New Town], little to justify existence as a separate parish. In the schools, and in the good choral rendering of the services, we find (1898) the only satisfactory items. There is a daily service for men in a 'refuge', where the charge for the night's lodging is 1d.  To these men a free breakfast is given on Sunday morning, after which they are expected to come to church. In addition, work among the Jews is attempted by means of a curate, who is himself a converted Jew [presumably this was Albert Elias Abrahamson, though there were others, and the Vicar at that time, Michael Rosenthal, was also a Jewish convert; St Mark's finally closed in 1925].

St. Jude's [Commercial Street], too, between the Jews on the one hand and the lodging-house population on the other, is left with a very small parochial element; and now that it is no longer connected with Toynbee Hall [on which see below]. it has lost the peculiar collegiate position it for a long time held. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the work of this church is the Worship Hour, a solemn, though partly-secular, Sunday afternoon service for many years arranged by Mrs. Barnett, the wife of the former vicar, and till recently still to a certain extent under her supervision. [They provided colourful service sheets, and kept the gas light low so that the poor would not be ashamed of their shabby clothes.]

Though the parish of St. Augustine, like the others, has been overrun by the Jews, the vicar [Harry Wilson, right]  has succeeded in making his church the centre of very active work. He is an extreme High Churchman, and the services are of the most advanced kind; such as Low Churchmen would call 'playing with Rome'. He came to a stagnant parish, and in fourteen years has multiplied everything by about fourteen. His success shows what a man of great energy and uncompromising principles of churchmanship, with a large staff of workers, and a free use of sensational methods, can accomplish under circumstances apparently the most adverse. The vicar would attribute his success to the grace of God and the power of the doctrines that are taught, while others might say that the people are bought. Money is indeed freely spent here, and the art of raising it is well understood, but my own impression is that the influence wielded by the vicar of St. Augustine's is due rather to the vigour of his personality than either the doctrines taught or 'the attractive force of £4000 a year'. In one way or another not only is the church filled, but a firm hold seems to have been secured upon some five hundred East-End people drawn from his own and other parishes, for whom the vicar's ideal is that they should live, move, and have their being in and about the church, all that is done for them and by them being in pursuit of the conversion and sanctification of their souls. Many of the workers come from other districts.

There is in Great Alie Street a Strict Baptist chapel the teaching at which provides a strong contrast to that of St. Augustine's. It is a very old-fashioned looking place with high-backed pews, and the pastor sits aloft in a tall wooden pulpit. The congregation comes from almost everywhere except the immediate neighbourhood. Some of those who come from the greatest distance stay all day on Sunday, arranging to dine, and bringing their children with them for the afternoon school. Forty or so come also to the week-night services. The congregation was formed in 1808 by a section splitting off from the ancient Baptist church in Old Gravel Lane, and as late as 1856 the chapel in Great Alie Street had many members, merchants and others, living near by. All have now moved away. But though some have been lost, many still maintain the connection. Including the deep galleries, there is accommodation for seven hundred worshippers, and the chapel is nearly half-filled for the two Sunday services. It is by the strictness and exclusiveness of their doctrine and the terms of church membership that the congregation is bound together. For very many years, before the times of the present pastor, the pulpit was served by 'supplies', presumably because they found no one to suit them as their permanent minister. Yet the congregation held together. Their uncompromising sternness in matters of belief has made it impossible for them to unite with the remnant of a congregation whose chapel is in Commercial Street, opposite St. Jude's, though this would have been financially very desirable, or with the chapel close by in Little Alie Street, which is at present without a pastor, because both these, though also 'Strict', are not what are called 'Particular' Baptists. On the other hand, it must be said that these two others, though nominally of exactly the same faith, have themselves been unable to agree upon terms of fusion; so strong is the element of individuality in this body. [He got this a bit wrong: the Commercial Street congregation was Particular but not Strict, and the Little Alie Street congregation was both Strict and Particular, but not in extreme form.]

A Congregationalist place of worship, in Whitechapel Road, and one or two other Nonconformist churches just manage to exist, drawing their people from a distance; but of undenominational missions there are several, and one of them, which was conducted by Mr. Holland in George Yard [later Gunthorpe Street], is on a scale almost equal to that of King Edward's Mission already described. [footnote: Mr. Holland died in 1900 at the age of seventy-six, after forty-six years' work at George Yard.]

The impulse for these two great Missions, and for many others in all parts of London, came from the late Lord Shaftesbury. As already stated, they began as ragged schools, and here at George Yard, though much has been added, the ragged school still remains. The children who attend it are of a very poor type, and though much helped with gifts of clothes remain extremely ragged. Their parents are the constantly shifting crowd who occupy the poor streets near, and gifts of food and clothes attract the children to the school. To be ragged and uncared for is their best qualification, and on these terms the assistance given tends to become a permanent barrier to improvement. Even if the charitable gifts continued, it would probably be better that the day school should be closed and the children drafted to some Board school. The Sunday school has 850 on its books, of whom on the average only 380 attend.

Much ordinary and some extraordinary mission work is carried on at George Yard. A very long list of 'operations' could be drawn up. There is something for everyone; 'for children, for young women and elder girls, for young men and for adults'. There are three distinct blocks of buildings, in one of which there is a large hall seating eight hundred persons, and used on Sunday evening for Evangelistic services.

These services are fairly attended. 'If you have the right sort of thing they will come.' Many come from a distance; but the other work of the mission lies amongst its poor neighbours. There are four hundred to five hundred women in the mothers' meetings, and they have a special meeting for inebriate women, 'who will break the pledge time after time, till, in answer to prayer, God takes away the desire for drink.' The most successful branch of the work is that connected
with girls. They have a building to themselves, with class rooms and play rooms, parlours and library. It is something between a school and club. The classes are taken by ladies, and, in addition to the actual lessons given, the object aimed at is 'Christian sympathy'.

These two words were the key-note of Mr. Holland's whole life and work. All was well intentioned, and everyone held Mr. Holland in the highest esteem, but about George Yard the tradition of the combination of religion with relief hangs like an atmosphere from which it is hard to get away.

Of the remaining parishes in Stepney, lying to the east of St. Augustine's, three, viz., Christ Church, St. Thomas', and St. Dunstan's, have been included with outer East London in Volume I. In these parishes the Jews are coming, but have hardly come; but in St. Philip's, which I include here, they are rapidly ousting Christians. Otherwise St. Philip's parish has none of the elements of Whitechapel. In it the Church of England has not been very much affected by the change in population. Those who have left were not regular adherents of the Church any more than are those who remain. Nor did they belong to any other religious body, though doubtless they were to be counted among the 'occasional attenders', and furnished their quota to the huge congregations that gather at the Great Assembly Hall or Edinburgh Castle, or wherever some special attraction may offer.  Those who live in this neighbourhood are of many occupations and industries, 'servants of the City' who are here within easy reach of their work.

Although St. Philip's is very little known, and locally quite neglected, its noble proportions and exquisite interior would fully fit it to become the Cathedral of East London, and only a little touch of fashion would be needed to fill its aisles with devout worshippers such as now crowd every Sunday to Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's.

South of Commercial Road, the limit of the Jewish flood at the present time is reached in St. John's parish; but here it is running strong. Ten years ago there were comparatively few, and twenty years ago hardly any Jews; now the vicar estimates them as at least seventy per cent of the population. His people are almost all poor, the Jews no less than the English, but the Jews pay more rent and pay it more regularly, and the English gradually go. The Church has a small, but attached congregation, with an inner circle of communicants devoted to the vicar, and most of them have formerly been parishioners though they may be so no longer. The most interesting piece of work is a Bible-class held by the vicar. It is crowded, and such is the pressure that if absent three times a member forfeits his place, and in a recent year out of fifty-five members forty-eight did not miss a single meeting. The fact is remarkable, and the explanation no less so. The Bible is made the vehicle for lessons in science, and the resources of the laboratory are freely used to illustrate its words. ' "God made the firmament" — what do they know about the firmament?' So their vicar gives the class an insight into the nature of gases. And so absorbing is the interest of the course, and so thorough the teaching, that It has taken six years to reach the end of Genesis.

All the rest of this district, and I include in it the parish of St. Paul, Upper East Smithfield (Whitechapel), remains under the influence of the river, the docks, and the wharves.

Into the parish work of St. George's great energy has been put. Leaving out such as are distinctive of and only found with extreme Evangelicalism or Ritualism, the church organizations are very complete, and they are successful. There is a large congregation which has been brought together and held by the steady work of an able, hard-working, reasonable, unsensational man [R.W. Harris], helped no doubt by the command of money and by the attractions of a parent parish. The communicants number five hundred. Of this parish it may be said without any serious exaggeration that 'though few are grasped, all are touched'. The 'few' are a selection of the fit; the 'all' include Jews and Roman Catholics, to whom indeed the Church has little to offer, but with whom friendly relations are maintained. Many of the Jewish children come to the Band of Hope.

There are two churches connected with this parish, and the necessary centralization of the work is shown by the absolute failure of the second church [St Matthew Pell Street] to fill any useful role as a local place of worship.

Of Christ Church and St. Mary's, of St. Paul's, Shadwell, and St. Paul's, Whitechapel, little need be said. They try by this plan and that, to reach the people, but mostly in vain. 'Every kind of mission and mission service is tried, with practically no effect', though a novelty may answer for a while. Again, it is said, 'Those who will go anywhere will go to church'. At one of these parishes a new vicar has only just started and has nothing yet to show, while another, about to leave, can only make the same report. The churches are not entirely empty, but the population is untouched.

The outward movement of the lower middle and tradesman class has left the Nonconformist churches in difficulty, but has not wiped them out, as in Spitalfields. Wycliffe Chapel (Congregationalist) in St. Philip's parish, to the north of Commercial Road, holds an almost cathedral position for the body, and though the building is now 'a world too wide' for its shrunk congregation, its members refuse to make any change in their old-fashioned methods, and are probably right in taking this line. Such centres fill an important place in religious life, but are necessarily exceptional.

The Congregational Church in Watney Street, called Ebenezer, yielding to the changed condition of its neighbourhood, is now practically a mission church, serving the poor in many ways, but without inducing them to come regularly, if indeed at all, to any religious service. The work done lies mostly among the children.

The [General] Baptists in Commercial Road as a religious body are much more successful. Their congregation consists of serious-minded lower-middle and working-class people, drawn from the streets near and from further East as far as Bow. They nearly fill their church, which seats six hundred people, and a hearty friendliness prevails. Their Sunday school consists of their own and other well-dressed children. The poorer ones do not care to mix with such as these, so the children sort themselves, the poor going to the Ebenezer or some mission school.

The exodus of the middle class seems to have been felt most severely by the Wesleyans. This is partly because of the three years' rule, which, by the frequent change of minister, makes it peculiarly difficult to hold together scattered members of a congregation. But the Wesleyans have faced the situation. They have here abandoned that rule; and frankly adopting mission methods, have made of the 'circuit' system an organization which for its vigour and scope of
action is without counterpart in East London.

The effort is recent, dating from about the same time as my own inquiry. It was a direct consequence of a voice then raised in the wilderness — 'the bitter cry of outcast London'. Its history here in this neighbourhood is the history of fifteen years, and in North, West-Central and South London which followed suit, a shorter time has witnessed a yet more remarkable development. Here in East London three large churches are used, and in addition several mission centres have been established in premises previously occupied as low drinking or dancing saloons. For two of these the old names have been retained — ' Paddy's Goose ' and the ' Mahogany Bar.' There are three ministers, four evangelists (or missionaries), two nurses, and a doctor — all paid. There are also some twenty resident Sisters of the People, some paid and some not, but all of whom give their whole time and wear the Sister's garb; and about as many young men who give constant evening work. It is a large staff, but proves insufficient for the work undertaken. The churches are fairly filled, and in all a large number of Church members are counted, drawn mainly from the lower middle and working-class people, but not to any great extent from the quite poor.
Footnote: Of such of the members of the poorest of these congregations as could be classified by employment we have the subjoined particulars. Doubtless there would be in addition wives and other females engaged in household duties: — 5 engineers, 7 carpenters, 1 blacksmith, 1 plasterer, 1 mason, 3 bakers, 2 sailmakers, 1 ropemaker, 1 tarpaulin maker, 1 diver, 4 sailors, I bookbinder, 1 hatter, 1 gunmaker, 3 policemen, 2 postmen, 1 dairyman, 10 shopkeepers and shop assistants, 18 clerks (all small), 1 rent collector, 2 sanitary inspectors, 14 casual dockers or labourers, 15 dockers (regular work), 13 dray and carmen, 7 warehousemen, I cooper, 2 costers, 14 tailoresses, 12 dressmakers, 1 shirtmaker, 7 laundresses, 3 charwomen, 6 servants, 4 nurses, 6 jam and sweet-makers, 6 teachers; total 175.

They include also a strictly middle-class element. The poor are visited and helped. There is a medical mission and a 'people's lawyer', as well as mothers' meetings and Sunday schools. There is, indeed, hardly any resource that is not tried to serve and save the people; but the special work of this mission lies with the ragged children of the street. Many of these still evade the Board schools and run wild, and to such the Wesleyan mission opens wide its doors, seeking to tempt them in on Sunday and on week-day evenings by teas and prizes. Many of these children are said to be too rough and unkempt for the regular Sunday school and are separately treated, but are passed on into it if or when they are fitted for that advance.

The general system adopted, which I shall have occasion to describe more fully when I come to the central districts, gives a great deal of life to religion; each chapel has its orchestra, and each pulpit is a centre of social and political as well as religious propaganda. The work of the mission undoubtedly does bring religious-minded people together, the motive as usual being for the most part the evangelization of others. This object is attempted by just the same methods as are employed elsewhere and with no materially different results. The most powerful religious influence exerted takes the shape of a reaction on the lives of the workers themselves. The money needed is collected mainly from their own co-religionists, and the usual sensational appeals are issued.

Proceeding now to the riverside, we find in Wapping an island with a separate life of its own. No one can enter or leave without passing the constable at the dock bridges. There is here little crime or open profligacy, for the conditions do not suit the criminal or the prostitute, but there is much heavy drinking. Excepting a few dock officials, the people are all working class, connected for the most part with docks or shipping, and many of them are very poor.

A strip of river border forms the quiet little parish of St. John's, in which a large proportion of the population are Roman Catholics. In the adjoining parish of St. Peter's, we find one of the most concentrated and distinctive pieces of parochial work that London has to show. The devotion of the vicar is absolute, and his spirit dominates everything, making the whole work focus in the realization, so far as it can be realized, of the High Church ideal of a parish of devout communicants. There is here a repetition of the extreme Anglicanism of St. Augustine's, the same importance attached to confession, which is regarded as the 'real test', and the same success. But at St. Peter's the tradition of Ritualism dates back to the days of Father Lowder.

There is an almost complete circle of parish organizations, schools, guilds and clubs; something for those of every age and both sexes. As at St. Augustine's, money is freely spent. The treats and charities are on a lavish scale. The charitable funds are available for all, irrespective of creed, and the administration is of course attacked as bribery, not, perhaps, without reason. The private Mortuary Chapel, the separate plot for parishioners in the burial-ground at Plaistow, the insurance of the vicar's 'bad life', so that there may be some benefit 'if it please God to allow me, as I should myself desire, to die at my post', are among the many signs of the brooding care of this man for the welfare of his parish. But it is the individual soul that is his especial care. His mind and heart are filled with solicitude for the salvation of his people. Illness or accident he regards as a godsend, because of the chance it may offer to break down the barriers. And this priest, who provides dinners for the children, and clubs for every age; who does his utmost to make people healthy and happy, whose poor fund runs into four figures, is led to say that 'the grave is the great consolation'; and finds in funerals the happiest, and in marriages the least happy, part of his work. The two men, the vicars of these parishes, are widely different, but here, as at St. Augustine's, it is not so much the money spent, nor the doctrine taught, as the personality of the man that has won his success.

The value of it is difficult to measure. Religion, to gain strength, is lowered to superstition; other churches are robbed, but still the bulk of the population are untouched; the devotion to the poor is complete, but it is to be feared that they can hardly escape pauperization. In these matters we require to attach many different meanings to the word success.

A close comparison may be made between great spending churches, such as these, and the great spending missions with which they come into hostile competition. Equally enthusiastic, equally self-devoted, equally well backed with money and adopting mainly the same methods of work, they secure a very similar degree of success, which, humbly giving to God the glory, both churches and missions attribute to the divine force contained in the truths they teach. As
to these truths, they are themselves more conscious of points of divergence than of agreement, although the essential doctrine of the need for and method of salvation is the same for both; the difference controverted with such bitterness lying in the accepted terms of approach of man to God, and God to man.


If Wapping is an island, St. James's, Ratcliff, may be considered a peninsula. It is a little corner of London, protected on the South and East by the river and Limehouse Basin, but lying open on the West and North to any tide of poverty, crime, or vice that London may silt into it; and with London, in return, open to its inhabitants to work in or prey upon. In this rough neighbourhood Catholics and Protestants, priest and parson. Churchman and Nonconformist, live side by side in singular harmony. What is done by the church is done for the whole parish without regard to belief or practice in religion. In the clubs there are Catholic as well as Protestant girls, and the prayers used were sanctioned by Cardinal Manning. When once they held a special mission, with processions through the streets, the Catholics were told by their priests that any disturbance on their part would be a deadly sin, and, what is hardly less remarkable, their effort was at the same time prayed for at the great Wesleyan mission. Thus an extraordinarily broad spirit is shown and responded to. [See here for the British Union School in Ratcliff.] The relations of the Church and the people are really much the same here as elsewhere, but the facts are admitted. The acknowledged aim of the Church is to connect and hold together a band of men and women who shall devote their lives to the social mprovement of the people There is no vestige of the propagandist spirit, no demand that the members of this band, and those they seek to serve, should think alike, or kneel in the same building. But any who share their faith or feel spiritually strengthened by kneeling together, are encouraged to do so; and are thereby bound, one with another, for the service of the people in the name of God.

There are six Catholic mission churches in this part of London, one of which is, indeed, situated in Limehouse, a little to the east of the limits laid down, but the district it serves includes the notorious London Street in Ratcliff, and it shares with the other churches on the river front the religious care of the rough Irish v/ho work at the docks and wharves. The ministrations of these churches touch the poorest, and to give freely in charity is the rule of their religion, yet it is these poor people whose contributions support the church. A penny is paid on Sunday by those who attend Mass, which it is the duty of all to do. The priests make it their business to look up such as fail in this duty, and all have the opportunity given them of subscribing to the schools and other church expenses. Except the priests' stipends, v/hich are of the smallest, the charges are mainly borne by the congregation. At the Limehouse mission there is an organized school collection from house to house every Sunday afternoon. Six men undertake this, having each a district, and the priest accompanies each in turn to stir up any who are backward.

The church of SS Mary and Michael in Commercial Road was the original mission church in East London, and the population still left to it includes eight or nine thousand Catholics. The schools are endowed, but the church is supported by its people, who are mostly poor Irish labourers. This church has a powerful organization. The regular paid staff consists of five priests, but there are generally two young priests in addition who come here to learn their work; and a large number of Sisters undertake teaching, nursing and visiting. These belong to two convents. There is also a small settlement of ladies from the West End who come here to work. At these churches 10 o'clock Mass is the most crowded, and is attended by the poorest people. The priests complain of irregularity at Mass and of indifference to religious duties, but no one passing from Protestant churches to their's would take that view. They have a higher standard. Moreover, the attendance is unmistakably due to genuine religious feeling and a belief in the divine authority of the Church and its priesthood. Of support purchased by ordinary material benefits there Is no trace. The children come to the schools and the schools are full, although the attendance leaves. It is said, something to be desired. 'Deplorable lack of parental authority' is referred to as the cause.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wapping serves a similar class of people. The priest in charge has been there for many years, and reports an Increase of crowding and poverty due to the pressure of the Jews, who are driving poor Christians out of St. George's. He has a Roman Catholic population of 2500; all are Irish or of Irish descent, with the exception of a small colony of Italians who work at Gatti's Ice wharf. There are nearly six hundred children on the school register, but otherwise, save a small club for girls, nothing is done outside of the services and sacraments of the Church. The church has no money to spend, being poor and heavily in debt for its schools. It has no visitors to work for it, but the priest knows all his people, and is able to visit them himself, living, as they do, within so small an area. Nothing is given. The contrast In this respect with St. Peter's, their High Church neighbour, is great.

The fourth of these riverside churches is that of the English Martyrs in Great Prescott Street. It is architecturally a rather remarkable building, and offers also the attraction of beautiful music. The bulk of the Catholic population still are poor dock labourers, but there are also tailors and other tradesmen; and here a branch of the Catholic Social Union, with the Dowager Duchess of Newcastle at its head, works in co-operation with the priests. The church itself 'gives nothing' and claims the greater influence thereby, but it is not likely that this can be said of the members of the Social Union. Against them complaints of religious bribery are made.

The priests all refer to the difficulty experienced in retaining the young men. Girls' clubs are successful, but boys after school age cannot be controlled and are apt to drift into indifference. They may, perhaps, be picked up again at marriage, but if a man marries a Protestant he may be entirely lost. Hence the great danger, from the Catholic point of view, of mixed marriages, which otherwise might rather tend to strengthen the Church. The poor Irish, who form the bulk of the Catholic population, are careless, but are naturally devout. They are rough mannered and fight amongst themselves, or with the police at times, and they drink a good deal. It is not possible to trace any persistent improvement, either moral or material, in their lives, and if a religion which does not secure improvement fails, then success cannot be claimed for these churches. But, from day to day, these poor people are greatly helped by their connection with the Church; restrained, controlled and blessed in their rough lives by its care.

The German Catholics have a special church in Union Street, near St. Mary's, Whitechapel, which is filled every Sunday morning and evening with a very devout congregation, drawn largely from the working classes. The remarkable feature of this church is the bachelors' club which is connected with it, or with which it is connected, for the backbone of the mission seems to be the club. The full members are all unmarried men, mostly young. A married man can only be an honorary member; a rule made to avoid all chance of petticoat government. The club, which adjoins the church, is open every evening, but its activities are greatest on Sunday. On that day it opens at 10 a.m., closing at 11 o'clock for Mass; and after the service the members enjoy a glass of Munich beer. Then some dine at the club, but the greater part go home. At 4 o'clock, when the priest gives a short address to the members, the club is again full, and amusements,
billiards, &c., fill the time till 7, when the club again closes for the evening service. Afterwards ladies are admitted. The entertainments of the club include lectures, concerts and dramatic performances. The priest is its president. Perfect order is maintained. It is not a solitary institution, but to be found, we are told, wherever there are many German Catholics. More than a thousand of such clubs exist in various parts of the globe, affiliated in such fashion that to be
a member of one is to be welcome at any other, wherever it may be. Amongst the members there is, no doubt, something of that mixture of class which seems to be always practicable under Catholicism.

There is also a church of this faith to serve the Irish Colony of Mile End Old Town. The Irish there are giving place to Jews, but the church still gathers a considerable congregation.

On the whole, among the various religious elements of this district, Roman Catholicism plays an important and satisfactory part. It makes no attempt at proselytizing. ' We have', said one of the priests, 'more than enough to do in looking after our own people.'


In addition to the efforts of the directly religious and missionary institutions which have been described in a general way, and of which I have also given salient examples, there are some great charitable agencies connected with this district, in which the idea of religion is kept somewhat in the background.

This is so locally even with the Salvation Army, which, though it began its work in this neighbourhood and though its soldiers still march through the streets at times with drum and tambourine, is now of little importance as a religious influence; but has turned towards its 'social wing' the marvellous energies and powers of organization, and the devoted work it commands. The headquarters of the social wing are established in the very house in which General Booth
gathered together his first body of adherents some thirty years ago, and in this building, or in the neighbourhood of it, various branches of social work have been established: the night shelters, the net into the meshes of which are first drawn the masses of derelict human beings, among whom the Army endeavours to effect its reclamations; the food depots; the elevators (or workshops); the lighthouse, in which men live who have been selected for work in an elevator; and the poor man's metropole, which is a superior kind of lodging-house. There is also a shelter for women, and a labour bureau. To the headquarters of the social wing cases are sent from all over London, so that these organizations cannot be considered as local to the East End, and an account of them will come better later, when the problems with which they are concerned, or to which they give rise, will be more fully considered.

There are several other shelters besides those of the Salvation Army. One large building, belonging to the Roman Catholics, provides lodging free, attracting day by day, sometimes quite early in the afternoon, a sad and listless crowd, the men at one gate, the women at another, waiting for the time of admission. At Medland Hall, Ratcliff, free accommodation is also provided. This shelter had an unenviable reputation, but is now under better regulation.

footnote: The following extract from the Christian World (January, 1901) gives the most recent statistics : —
The 'Home of the Homeless' and Medland Hall, Ratcliff, E., was first opened as a free shelter for destitute men on January 5th, 1891, and on Sunday a special birthday service was held to commemorate the ten years' work.
In one decade the 'shelter' has taken a unique place among the philanthropic efforts on behalf of the outcasts of London. For the first four years the admissions of men for shelter at the hall averaged 170,000 a year. Then they had no bunks to sleep in; last year 148,820 men were admitted and provided with separate beds and comfortable bedding. In all, during ten years nearly a million and a half of men have benefited by the hall, and over 300 tons of bread have been supplied. The figures for 1900 have just been compiled by Mr. E. Wilson Gates, the director of the Philanthropic Branch of the London Congregational Union. They are eloquent statistics, and go far to prove that Medland Hall is indeed a home for lost and starving men. ... The number of men helped was 12,896, giving each man an average of twelve nights in the hall. As a matter of fact 6155 used the hall for from two to six nights, while 836 were only once sheltered and fed; 8576 were turned away for lack of room; 104 men were provided for during their first week of employment, 23 were gratuitously supplied with surgical appliances, and 733 with articles of clothing. The largest proportion of the beneficiaries are men between the ages of 30 to 34 and 40 to 44, though 33 men of 70 and over sought refuge in the shelter. All trades and professions were represented, and every county in England had its representation in the year's admissions. Ireland contributed 854, Scotland 635, and Wales 266; 245 men from 24 colonies and dependencies, and 773 foreigners from 26 countries were 'entertained'. The total expenditure was £940, or less
than 1½d per man per night.

Admission here is mainly by ticket, but it is well to be early, and before the doors open at six o'clock the applicants, standing in single file, extend for a long distance. In addition to lodging, those admitted receive half a pound of bread, with butter and coffee additional on Sunday. Each man has a bunk; of these there used to be 450, but the number has been cut down by the London County Council to 343, and now the enlargement of the building is projected. The bunks are supplied with pillow, blanket and mattress, all cased in American cloth for cleanliness, and a hinged flap at one end serves as bolster and at the same time forms a receptacle for boots and other articles which might be stolen while their owner is sleeping. The accommodation provided by the Salvation Army is very similar. In all the shelters some religious service is held.

The benefit that springs from the provision of free, or almost free, shelter for the homeless is open to very grave doubt. There can be no question that these institutions tend to foster and increase the class they serve, and tend also to aggravate its condition by concentration and congestion. There is a nomad population which comes and goes, pausing in London awhile before starting forth once more. Their number is capable of expansion or contraction, and the length of their stay in London may be longer or shorter. The needs of these people, and the fact that the chances of London life greatly attract and encourage those who are chronically 'dead broke', are but poor reasons for providing in London special accommodation for them; especially if the result be, as it certainly is in Whitechapel, to inflict almost unmitigated evil upon the locality in which the shelters are situated. In such cases it becomes public policy to insist on as high a standard of accommodation for charitable or semi-charitable institutions as for those which work for profit, and to make that standard as high as possible. If the wandering and homeless class are discouraged, so much the better: if they still come, let the conditions under which they live be such as to raise rather than debase them.

The original idea no doubt was that whatever accommodation men were eager to accept must at least be better than what they would otherwise have to endure, and that thus the overcrowding complained of was in itself a proof that all was well: room to lie down under a roof, even on a bare floor, was better than the cold damp of some doorstep or the shelter of a railway arch; and it was better for others as well as themselves that they should be gathered together, dirt, rags, insects, and all, rather than befoul the common staircases of tenement houses. The argument is delusive. The aim far too low. The special dangers of degrading forms of competition apply to charity quite as much as to industry, and call no less imperatively for intervention. But in departing from the first idea, other difficulties are encountered. So long as the accommodation offered was only a trifle better than the cold comfort of the street, it could be free to all comers; but if improved, the difficulty of selection necessarily arises. We see it in the crowds waiting for hours outside the Roman Catholic shelter in Crispin Street, or in the ticket system adopted at Medland Hall. The difficulty is a real one and can perhaps best be met by active co-operation between private charity and the Poor Law. The evil is deep-seated, and a decrease in the numbers of those who seek, such casual accommodation can only be brought about gradually; but to decide after investigation which cases are, and which are not, suitable for private assistance is, if seriously undertaken, by no means an impossible task. This is the first selection; and to deal with each case for the best, other selections follow.

The policy pursued by the Church Army in its Labour Homes, of which there are two here, is one of strict selection and individual care, and deserves commendation. But its story, like that of the Social Wing of the Salvation Army, does not belong particularly to East London, and even to the Homes in Whitechapel inmates come from all over London.

Attempts to improve the character of common lodging-houses by direct competition, like that of the Victoria Homes founded by Lord Radstock, fall into line with the policy of selection. The aim is not to provide more cheaply for those v/ho cannot afford a 'fourpenny doss', but to provide something better for those who can. Action such as this is good as tending to raise the whole standard of lodging-house accommodation. The object is to teach men to value the decencies of life and to strengthen the hands of the local authorities in enforcino- their observance. It is in this direction that the Salvation Army contributes its 'Poor Man's Metropole', but in spite of its high-sounding title the aim here seems hardly ambitious enough. The right level is not easily hit. If the aim be too high or too low, it fails of its purpose. If too low, the men you desire to serve come, indeed, but their standard of life is not raised; if too high, they do not come at all, and you serve a different class, who may perhaps lose rather than gain by adopting barrack life. The framing of the rules requires great judgment, and however strong the philanthropic and religious motives may be to which these improved houses generally owe their inception, the management should be primarily a matter of business. It is certainly best to avoid any display of religion.

Dr. Barnardo's institution for the housing and care of destitute children is an enterprise of a similar kind to those for the housing of the homeless, but the conception is far higher. Of it no one can say that the aim has been too low. It is beyond question the greatest charitable institution in London, or, I suppose, in the world, and its success has been deserved. The management has been stamped with the impress of a most remarkable personality and may not have been free from faults, but they have been the defects of its qualities. It is easy to cavil, but there are few charities in favour of which so much, and against which so little, can be said. In a notice of Dr. Barnardo's work written ten or twelve years ago, I, somewhat alarmed at Its rapid extension, expressed a fear lest, its assistance being counted upon, it should in the end become a cause of misery. Undoubtedly the danger exists, but it is recognised, and great care is taken to minimise it in the selection or rejection of applicants. The 'ever open door' is not held too widely open, it would be fatal if it were, and the more nearly the institution approaches its maximum growth financially, the more careful this selection is likely to become. Thus the institution has very permanent elements which justify continued public support. Children of all ages and both sexes are received, those afflicted in various ways, as well as those whose only disadvantage is their poverty, and they are drawn from several other large cities as well as from London. For those that can be best cared for in that way there are country homes, whilst for those who are willing to emigrate places are found in Canada. Dr. Barnardo has never any difficulty in finding situations for his boys and girls. The inmates of the homes may be roughly grouped in two divisions: those who come young, usually because of the death of one or both parents; and those who come late, on an independent footing, having already tried life, and failed. By far the greater number are in the first of these divisions, the more difficult cases in the second.

Dr. Barnardo is one of those who have carried to perfection the art of public appeal for funds, and by these means he secures an income of about £150,000 a year. This art is the basis of most missionary and philanthropic enterprise; not in East London only. It plays with wonderful skill on the tender hearts of all classes, and the religious sentiments of some, sounding every note. Its success has been so marvellous and so sustained that it is often and confidently attributed to the special favour of God. And so possessed are those who use these means by a sense of the goodness of their ends, that they often, it may be unwittingly, make unscrupulous use of sensational language and exaggeration. The system has great dangers, and needs to be watched carefully from within as well as from without.

One of the most curious instances of its use is that by Mr. Atkinson, a Congregational minister, who is an 'expert' in begging by advertisement, and in this way collects in perfect good faith far more money than he can himself wisely spend in the relief of distress. His mission centre, situated in the outer ring, has already been mentioned, but he seeks his 'poor' far and wide; and other missionaries, carrying on their work in a smaller way, turn to him for assistance, which is freely given. His position is thus almost that of a voluntary charity agent. All is very honestly albeit not very wisely done.

Some of the begging missions publish accounts, and some do not. It is unnecessary to suppose that when no accounts are published the money is improperly used for purposes other than those mentioned in the appeals. Method in accounts is in many cases rather a question of temperament than of honesty, and even methodical accounts may sometimes conceal a loose administration. There are, undoubtedly, dangers, and the lynx eye of the Charity Organization Society is of great value in detecting and checking begging frauds, and in severely questioning those cases in which, though genuine work may be carried on, the missionary obtains an extremely good living from it.

In one form or another the feeding of the poor, and more especially of poor children, has, in this neighbourhood, assumed very large proportions. At most schools in poor districts, and that applies to nearly all the schools here, free breakfasts and dinners are arranged when required for necessitous children. It may be doubted whether this is done in the best way, but it probably must be done in some way if the children are to be taught at all. It does not follow because children come ill-nourished that there is not food to be had at their homes, but the supply is probably irregular, and the mother perhaps neglectful or she may be occupied with her babies, or obliged to work for money. The children will then be given a piece of bread with jam, or margarine, or dripping, or it may be dry bread only for their meal; which they eat or throw away according to their humour, with the result that uneaten bread lies in the gutters of every poor street in London. If they are given pennies to spend they buy sweets. Sweet shops abound and prosper. If these children ran wild, sharing all the chances of bite and sup at home, they might do well enough as to food, and grow up into physically healthy creatures. But for children who have to attend school at stated hours and pass their standards, it becomes an impossible life. These children are at once fastidious and ill-fed. Porridge, if offered to a breakfastless child, is very likely to be refused; and if the home meals provide the least encouragement, the less appetising breakfast or dinner at school is gladly rejected.

In some cases a small charge is made, a farthing or a halfpenny for breakfast or a penny for dinner, a sum which scarcely covers the cost, but which all who can are expected to pay. The necessitous are then given free tickets. The plan has been systematized to some extent by the School Board, advantage being taken of voluntary effort. If well organized, and carried out on a large scale, it is quite likely that nice meals at very low prices could be supplied with profit to the caterer, and the children be far better and even more cheaply fed than from their parents' table. The system would then become a very useful adjunct to school life and would involve no charity except as regards those who had tickets given them.

The wholesale distribution of soup either gratis or at a nominal price is far more questionable than the provision of children's meals. It is a plan fitted for emergencies only, but the missions would have us believe that the emergency is chronic. In their appeals to the public they strike this note again and again. The body must be fed, they say, before the soul can be touched, and it is in the struggle for souls that this form of charity comes m.ost to the front. Without the
religious motive it could never be maintained. But so far from bringing the people into sympathy with religion it has the opposite effect, a result that is sometimes admitted even by those who find themselves unable to avoid doing the very things they know will do harm. 'Irreligion', said one incumbent, 'is the result of all the bribery: we are all in it; church and chapel are equally bad. It begins with the children — buns to come to Sunday school, and so on; so that they grow up with the idea that the church is simply a milch cow for treats and charity.' This is a hard saying and overstates the truth, but points none the less to very serious dangers, and especially to that of alienating the class of men whose earnings are not large, but who maintain a sturdy independence and will run no risk of being 'tarred with the charitable brush'.

It is very difficult to give any adequate idea of the extent of the religious and philanthropic effort that has been, and is, made in this district. No statistical device would be of much avail to measure the work done, and description fails to realize it. Great as the effort is in many other parts of London, it is greatest here. Nowhere else are the leading churches so completely organized to cover the whole field of their work; and nowhere else are the auxiliary missions on so huge a scale. Money has been supplied without stint; the total expended is enormous; and behind and beneath it all, much of the work is sustained by the self-devotion of very many and the exalted enthusiasm of not a few. It can hardly be but that the sense of present help and kindly sympathy brought home to the people must do good, and that the world would be a blacker world without it. But these results are difficult to gauge. Much that is done seems rather to do harm than good, and on the whole all this effort results in disappointment and causes men to turn to other methods.

Whitechapel, St. George's, and Stepney have been the scene of a very great experiment in the reform of the Poor Law on the anti-out-relief side. These three Unions, covering a very considerable area and including a population that is in the aggregate equal to that of a large provincial town, constitute in effect the district with which we are now dealing. The experiment has been an almost unique attempt. When it began the people were not only very poor, but terribly pauperized, and the object was to instil independence and so to raise the standard of life. A generation has elapsed, and we can take stock of the results.

The men primarily responsible for this experiment have been Mr. John Jones, the chief Relieving Officer of the Stepney Union (now dead); Mr. Vallance, Clerk to the Whitechapel Board of Guardians [footnote: Mr. Vallance has quite recently retired from office]; and Mr. A. G. Crowder, Guardian of St. George's-in-the-East; and they have had the co-operation of Mr. Albert Pell, the real apostle of their faith, who also was a Guardian at St. George's for many years. Their aim was to combat by every means in their power the tendency of the poor to depend on the rates, and the main lever to which they trusted in the pursuance of this object has been the denial of out-relief. The district, owing to the unusually small proportion of cases which from any point of view are suitable for out-relief, is well adapted for such an attempt, and moreover since it is part of their theory that private charity is much less injurious to the spirit of independence than parish aid, it has had the advantage (if it really be one) of being carried out contemporaneously with an unexampled flood of private benevolence. In this effort they have had the advantage also of close co-operation with the Charity Organization Society, for whose methods no greater opportunity could ever be offered.

Complete success has been achieved in reducing out-door relief without any corresponding increase in in-door pauperism. But to those who have advocated the principles which have produced these great results it is the more disheartening to find that they meet with no general acceptance. The example is not followed elsewhere, and even here the principle is not beyond the risk of abandonment. The continued presence and influence of the men I have named have been needed to prevent relapse, and at Stepney with the change of [personnel] there is already to some extent a change of policy.

Tested by the condition of the people, it is not possible to claim any great improvement. The people are no less poor, nor much, if at all, more independent. There are fewer paupers, but not any fewer who rely on charity in some form. Private charity defies control, and the work of the Charity Organization Society has, in spite of itself, become largely that of providing, under careful management, one more source of assistance for those who would otherwise be obliged to apply to the Guardians. The Tower Hamlets' Pension Fund has also been specially established to the same end, and is worked under the same inspiration.

Success, however, there is, for although in their extreme development the ideas of the reformers may be impracticable, yet over the whole of London their influence can now be traced. So, too, with the parallel action of the Charity Organization Society; its methods are disliked, and its theories attacked; even those of the clergy who profess to adopt these theories constantly fail in carrying them out, and admit that this is so; yet the broad principle, which recognises the responsibility of the giver for the ulterior consequences of charitable gifts, is more and more generally accepted. Still, as regards this particular district, the reformed system of Poor Law administration and the attempted guidance of charity are, like the efforts of the missions, somewhat disappointing. All that can safely be said is that they take a place among many influences making slowly for amelioration.

Of these general influences the greatest of all is elementary education, which, however, presents here no special features, and embodies no special effort. It is here just exactly what it is everywhere in London, save that the Board schools meet a far greater proportion of the demand than in some other districts. It is probably to the effect of school training that such softening of manners as exists is mainly to be traced. But in this direction too, there have been great disappointments. We have seen how those engaged in religious or missionary enterprise turn for hope and encouragement to their work among the young. We have seen how each gathering of ragged children is expected to recruit a Sunday school, and each Sunday school a church. The educationalist too, in spite of continued failures, retains the hope that what is taught in the day schools may be duly learnt, and what is learnt remembered when school is left; and he, too, seeks to keep some hold on the children by evening classes as do the religious bodies by means of young people's guilds, In continuation of the Sunday school, and with the same limited result of selecting a few and leaving the mass untouched. Like the rest, the educationalist clings to a belief in the efficacy of his gospel: he still has faith in the infusion of knowledge for raising the character of the people.

In each case, though not exactly according to their hopes, something is gradually won. The ragged rascal may never reach the Sunday school; the Sunday school children never join the church; the accomplishments of the fourth standard may be all forgotten, so that reading becomes difficult, and writing a lost art — but something still remains. Habits of cleanliness and of order have been formed; a higher standard of dress and of decency have been attained, and this
reacts upon the homes; and when children who have themselves been to school become parents, they accept and are ready to uphold the system, and support the authority of the teachers, instead of being prone to espouse with hand and tongue the cause of the refractory child. Schoolmasters need no longer fear the tongue of the mother or the horsewhip of an indignant father.

Nor need this be all. The power for good to be found in the influence of masters and teachers is very great, and happily can be exerted irrespective of dogmatic basis, as to which in England agreement is hardly possible. This influence will leave Its mark on the children and on their lives, even though religious observances fall into abeyance, and the little knowledge that has been acquired is forgotten. We have here, ready to our hand, a missionary band of extraordinary value, whose work pervades and underlies all. Nor need it be feared that their work will conflict with more definite religious agencies. The Churches might indeed prefer to monopolize all education, but as thinga are ought to welcome the effect on the character as well as the minds of the children which springs from the inspiration of a good teacher, 'spreading the gospel of cleanliness and order'. School managers who take this view, though they may put forward no creed, will yet spare no pains, so far as the choice rests with them, to obtain masters and mistresses whose moral influence will be good, and by giving them support and sympathy endeavour to secure that the teaching shall be somewhat wider than the code, and deeper than inspections can plumb or examinations test. It would be a narrow and limited view of religion to suppose that such masters and mistresses will not be themselves religious, and that their teaching would not carry with it the elements of religion.

Another aim has found expression and become associated with the name of Toynbee Hall, and what Toynbee Hall is will be best understood if we record how it came to be. Its inception followed on the appointment of Canon Barnett to the living of St. Jude's. Under his guidance, and that of Mrs. Barnett, who has rendered constant assistance in her husband's work, this small East-End parish became a centre not only of great activity, but also of thought. Intimate relations with Dr. Jowett and with several of the remarkable men v/ho came under his influence, led to their paying visits to St. Jude's, and the idea of a University Settlement in East London gradually took form. Of all these young men Arnold Toynbee, though in some respects a visionary, stood out as having the most suggestive and sympathetic mind. His death in the Spring of 1883, even more than his life, helped to clinch the purpose of the rest, and it was decided to associate the new settlement, opened at the end of 1884, with his name. It has never connected itself with any political party or with any religious school. The key-note has been freedom of individual thought, and, as a corollary of this, corporate action on all controversial issues has been carefully avoided.

By the strict observance of a non-party and non-sectarian attitude, Toynbee Hall both gains and loses. If it had some definite platform on which to take its stand, there might be more visible effect produced without, but there would be less within. The place would not attract the same class of men either as residents or for its organizations, and the loss would outweigh the gain. Now there is a general recognition that all who come are free to act as well as think for themselves.

The absence of concentration, and the consequent loss of apparent effectiveness, make it not easy to say in a word what Toynbee Hall has accomplished. The direct and expressed objects were to 'provide education and the means of recreation and enjoyment' for the people; 'to inquire into the condition of the poor and to consider and advance plans calculated to promote their welfare', and thus thought and sympathy were to be brought to bear upon the conditions of life in a working-class and poor neighbourhood. In a great variety of ways these objects have been attained, but indirectly also the influence exercised by the settlement has been very considerable. As pioneer settlement its advice is continually sought and its experience consulted; strangers desiring to study the problems of poverty, of industry, and of crowded City life, are hospitably entertained, and are helped in their researches by the residents, some of whom are themselves ever on the same quest. Moreover, Toynbee Hall has gradually formed traditions, and through them has acquired a widely-recognised, and very persistent, individuality of its own. In essence, perhaps, there was nothing very original in the fundamental principles adopted, which were merely 'a new phase' of 'neighbourliness and goodwill', an expression of very simple forms of 'civic duty', re-emphasizing the claims of old and valuable ideas. People, however,
were roused to think that some new discovery had been made as to the way in which social obligations could be met, and thus these ideas have often come to be associated with Toynbee Hall in the public mind, with the result that perhaps its greatest achievement lies in the fact that it has caused many people in many parts of the world to consider and seek to think out and apply these ideas afresh for themselves.

Toynbee Hall, in addition to carrying on its work of organizing classes, lectures and conferences, fostering educational societies and social clubs, providing concerts and entertainments, and affording a centre where 'East End' and 'West End' can enjoy a common hospitality, and where working class leaders first obtained social recognition, has also been connected with all local efforts made for improved administration, whether in Local Government and the Poor Law, in
school management, or in the guidance of charity in assisting the poor. The first residents carried the work in many directions with almost equal ability. As each effort in turn has been put to the test of experience, some have languished or lapsed, but others have greatly flourished.

With the variety of organizations that have been evolved, a large number of pupil and other elementary school teachers have been always associated, and it is not the least of the claims that may be advanced on behalf of Toynbee Hall that it has done much to teach our teachers.

The settlement has, at times, been attacked as irreligious, but the attack is unjust. In pursuance of the ideas of its founders it necessarily abstains from definite religious teaching, so much so that even ethical lectures, at one time given on Sunday evenings, have been abandoned. Yet most of the residents are religiously-minded men, and if many of them do not attend any place of worship, yet must the self-sacrificing work they do, and the spirit in which it is done, be
recognised as a proof of the most real religion and a definite witness to God.

We have in this chapter to speak of Whitechapel and St. George's-in-the-East, and of Limehouse, as completing our account, begun in Outer East London, of local administration in what is now the Borough of Stepney.

Parts of Whitechapel were built over at least as far back as 1600. Spitalfields was ready as an occupied area to receive the French Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1683. During the last half of the eighteenth century building was active from Goodman's Fields to Stepney and from Whitechapel Road to Shadwell, and excepting Goodman's Fields themselves and some parts east of the New Road, almost the whole of Whitechapel and St. George's, and a considerable part of Shadwell, had been built over before 1812. Thus by far the greater part of the district here dealt v/ith has the traditions of long occupancy. There has been no mushroom growth; such influences as have been at work have had to make themselves felt on alignments planned
long ago, on old structures, and on a long-established population.

The general street plan has remained much as it is for the last fifty years. It was in 1848 that Commercial Street was made, and it is difficult to over-estimate the importance of this improvement on the later structural changes in Whitechapel. Previously, the present wide street had been a narrow lane, approached, I am told, as George Yard is to-day, by a covered archway, and leading to a maze of courts and alleys, sotne of which still retain their past evil name, but all of which are now, at any rate, accessible and known. It is in the district thus opened up that have been erected a large part of the block dwellings, now so conspicuous and objectionable a feature in the locality; until, at the present time, about sixteen thousand out of the total population of eighty thousand in Whitechapel are thus housed. The other salient alteration, the cutting through of Commercial Road to the High Street, took place rather earlier, but still well v/ithin the memory of many living. Before this the great thoroughfare of our time bifurcated ignominiously at the bottom of Church Lane.

In recent years the opening of the Tower Bridge has increased the importance of Commercial Street for heavy traffic, and has hurried on the wide northern continuation of Middlesex Street. The full effects of this last improvement cannot yet be seen, but a beginning has been made in the clearances in what is
known as the Bell Lane area. Middlesex Street, the Petticoat Lane of old, is now an omnibus route on week-days, but is crowded from side to side on Sunday morning, when, combined with Wentworth Street, it forms the greatest street market in London. The market of the Jews themselves is in Wentworth Street,
where day by day, except on their Sabbath, they are the buyers as well as the sellers. In Middlesex Street on Sundays it is the Gentiles chiefly who buy.

In Whitechapel a certain number of small shopkeepers still live over their places of business in the more important thoroughfares, and among the smaller retailers a larger proportion; a considerable number, too, of the smaller master men In local industries still live in the neighbourhood; but, speaking generally, the population is now working class, and the outward movement of the middle classes can bring little further change: it is an accomplished fact and for the past ten years, indeed, things have been much as they are to-day. In St. George's the level reached is even more flat and dead. Whitechapel lives its multi-coloured life on the borders of great highways that are among the busiest and most lively in London; arteries leading so directly from the heart of things that the throb of the City would almost reach its ears were it not for its own hubbub. Parts are sombre and grey enough, but the High Street, the Jew's market, and Petticoat Lane on Sunday are among the most kaleidoscopic sights that London has to show. A walk down to St. George's is however always, unless one happens to strike Watney Street on the way, a passing into comparative gloom. There is a feeling of going away from life. It is off the main route, and monotony reigns. The changes that have occurred have been all in the direction of uniformity. The life that springs from river and docks has become less active; the proportion of sea-going population that spends its money here is a diminishing quantity; the work in the warehouses is falling into the hands of a more permanent body of men; the casual labourer, who just maintains a precarious livelihood at the docks, is a less common figure; St. George's is becoming at once more monotonous, and more respectable.

In both Whitechapel and St. George's overcrowding is the main difficulty of the local authorities. Much of the oldest and worst property has given place to what are described as 'splendid new buildings', but the population is denser than ever, and the buildings are not by any means all admirable.  'Sometimes' (says the medical officer of Whitechapel) 'they are constructed so as to allow light and air to permeate the rooms, and sometimes not.' Even some of those built in earlier days v/ith a philanthropic aim, have now a bad name. The result of the multiplication of block dwellings is to create authorized crowding, of which the evils are serious; and, where they have been over-run by foreign Jews, the laws are evaded, the crowding that results reaches an excessive point, and very primitive habits prevail. The most unsatisfactory spots are invariably due to bad landlords. If the owners are indifferent or acquiescent, and the occupiers desirous of evading the law, the authorities are almost powerless to prevent overcrowding. They do their best, but frankly admit failure.

The clearances and rebuilding have thus not cured, and may even have aggravated, crowding, but still the effect on the character of the inhabitants has been good. 'As poor as ever, but old rookeries destroyed, black patches cleared away, thieves and prostitutes gone, a marvellous change for the better', is the opinion of one as to the results in his neighbourhood. In Flower and Dean Street and Thrawl Street, there has been a similar change. Ten years ago these rivalled Dorset Street in notoriety, but now, though some of the old houses with the old class of occupant remain, the streets are lined with block dwellings and the inhabitants are poor, but respectable Jews.

Much has still to be done, and the large number of poor common lodging-houses remains not the least of the difficulties of the district. As regards overcrowding, the clergy, though face to face with terrible cases, dare not rouse agitation which might result in evictions and cause their visits to be looked at with suspicion by
people who have no wish to be disturbed. Here and there are areas which miorht be dealt with as insanitary, but usually the evil is crowding and little else. Even in Great Pearl Street the houses in themselves are not insanitary.

As to the great general disadvantages of block dwellings there is a consensus of opinion. They may be a necessary evil, but none the less, particularly in a district so built over as Whitechapel, they are an evil, bearing with especial hardship on child-life, and badly needing the mitigation supplied by public gardens within easy reach. Of these there are very fev/. Whitechapel has only two small open spaces: a recreation ground adjoining the Infirmary in Vallance Road, and the disused churchyard of Spitalfields, which has been suitably adapted and is much used. In St. George's a pleasant garden has been made out of the old Wesleyan burial ground with part of the parish churchyard. The expense was met privately. There is also a recreation ground in Wapping laid out by the London County Council, but too remote to be much frequented even when the band plays. The value of these spaces is greatest for children; for young people as well as for adults the bright streets have far greater attraction. Among available resorts we may also count the picturesquely situated Tower Gardens, and the Tower Wharf affords a short but splendid river promenade. Apart from the crowded dwellings the conditions of health are good, as is evidenced by the steadily declining death-rate.

Public baths and washhouses, as well as Free Libraries, have been provided both for Whitechapel and St. George's. All are much used, and in the case of the St. George's baths enlargements are spoken of. Whitechapel has also its Natural History Museum, and a permanent Picture Gallery has recently been added to crown the work of the loan exhibition which, for nearly twenty years, Canon and Mrs. Barnett had been able to arrange for the benefit and delight of thousands. In the v/hole of these enterprises public spirit has been greatly assisted by private generosity, the district being singularly fortunate in this respect. Electric lighting is the latest municipal development in Whitechapel.

Limehouse, where both death-rate and birth-rate are very high, suffers from the presence of a good deal of old bad  property still remaining on the long line of river frontage, or to be found in the dark places which figure on our map: damp, unwholesome houses, standing below the present level of the streets. Such dwellings almost defy attempts to keep them in proper sanitary condition. Happily some of the worst spots have been removed, either entirely or partly, by private effort or business requirements; and two considerable schemes of demolition promoted by the local authority and assisted by the London County Council, are now being proceeded with. Meanwhile it is suggestive that a public mortuary is almost the sole building which witnesses to municipal enterprise. There are, however, a number of small public gardens, and the streets are well cleansed and maintained.

Besides the traditional poverty of these parts, we have noted the outward movement of the better-to-do classes, the influence of the City and the increase of non-residential buildings, the erection of block dwellings, the spread of the Jews and the movement further East of the shipping trades; and have traced their consequences in the condition of the people. Local administration has been quickened in its use of the powers of the law for the checking of overcrowding,
the closing or improvement of insanitary property, and the registration and inspection of tenement rooms, and in its action as to the cleansing of the streets. The Poor Law has been strictly administered and has worked in harmony with organized charity in dealing with poverty. Wages have tended upwards. The trade union revival of 1889 has not been sustained in any great strength in the interest of unskilled labour, but the Dock Company, by its revised regulations, which were in great measure a consequence of the strike, has done much to make work more regular. The Sweating Commission inquiry, and the stronger East-End staff of Home Office inspectors; the more sympathetic labour policy of local public boards, and the greater responsibility admitted by other employers, have also had their effect. These influences are all making for improvement; and meanwhile the underlying forces of education render each successive generation more ready to form and to respond to a livelier and healthier public opinion. Slowly, by the combined effect of many agencies, the process goes on. In spite of the wretched beings who sleep each night on the doorsteps in Commercial Street, and the worse figures which parade its pavements; in spite of the hells of Dorset Street, and the low life and foul language of the courts; in spite of the poverty and drunkenness, domestic uncleanliness, ignorance and apathy, that still prevail — things are surely making for the better in Whitechapel and St. George's.

It is all a process of tinkering. Improvement is not coming structurally from a Haussmann, or socially and industrially by the light of master-minds, nor is it attempted by the dangerous road of revolution. Few big things are done. But amelioration there has been. Ten years is enough to show it, but if we go back further it becomes the more evident, and those who have worked here longest agree that there has been an especially marked change for the better in the behaviour and habits of the lowest social stratum. Such scenes of unmitigated savagery as old inhabitants have witnessed are unknown now. The police have far less trouble in maintaining order.

There is, it is true, a large class who must be regarded as outcasts, for whom the policy of sanitary regulation, of inspection, even of harrying, seems to be the only resource, and who must be regarded, in the mass, as hopeless subjects of reform. But although this [residuum] with the more uniform poverty found over the whole district, and the tendency to increased crowding, are constant sources of difficulty, it is generally admitted that the bad slums are becoming less numerous, and that the beneficial influences at work more than counteract those which make for decline.

Except among the homeless, who may almost be said to trade on their own wretchedness, there is at present little extreme poverty; but 'the poor are always with us' and, except as regards the Jews, who are certainly better off than they were, things have tended to a uniform level, lower rather than higher than the average of ten years ago. It is likely that this has been the tendency for a much longer period: less dire destitution on the one hand; and on the other, smaller, and continually smaller, admixture of the middle and even of the upper working class.

We have here a population of some 150,000 individuals, comprising Jews and Christians, foreigners and Englishmen. Of them a small minority are shop-keepers, or professionally employed, or employers of labour; and a vast majority are working class: artisans, mechanics, semi-skilled labourers and riverside workers; tailing down into casuals of the worst degree: larrikin, loafer, and thief; and we have indicated the influences that are being brought to bear on them, not only collectively, but also those that have conscious reference to the individual — to what is being done to relieve the poor and nurse the sick; to amuse and to instruct; to teach the principles of good conduct in life and good management in the home; and to kindle the fires of religion.

In what sense these attempts fail, and to what extent they succeed, I have tried to show. The failure is more apparent than the success, yet that the success lies deeper than the failure I believe. Too much has been looked for; and much is claimed that is not won. It is these ill-grounded and erroneous anticipations that make failure loom so large. The success achieved does not take the shape that was expected and passes unnoticed.

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